How We Approach Christmas {Attempts at Intentionalism}

Christmas 2014 coverIt’s officially Christmas time here (if you didn’t know that, then cue the Christmas music playlist on Spotify and start drinking egg nog…or peppermint hot chocolate..or both) and here in our home we like Christmas. We do decorations. We do a fresh wreath on the front door. We do nativities. We do sparkles. We do natural (I am really into using branches or “sticks” as my man calls them!}. We do gifts. We celebrate. We bake cookies. We laugh. We skimp on homework. We do crafts. We make things. We talk about Jesus. We talk about why he is our best gift. We do advent calendars. The girls get dressed up sometimes just because. We do music…sometimes loud music. We drive to our local sparkletown (our term for the neighborhoods with lots of Christmas lights and decorations…everyone calls it that, right?).

Those things we do on purpose. They don’t just happen.

There are some things we don’t do….not because they are evil or terrible or any of that. We simply choose to approach Christmas in a way that helps us all get better acquainted with the One who made us. So, there are things we say no to. Or if not “no”, we just don’t focus on them.

In no particular order…

  1. We read the Jesus Storybook Bible because it truly whispers His name on every page.
    We try to follow along with Adriel Booker’s advent reading plan found here. We want God’s presence with us – all 4 of us. Our kids need something on their level – something that speaks to their hearts and his book has been beautifully written in a story format that really captures their attention. Adriel’s Reading Plan will take you all the way through the advent season. She even has a free printable!
  2. We do gifts. We have been in a transition period between last year and this year moving towards three gifts for each child. Like many of you, it’s easy for us (me, really) to get carried away for Christmas and spend, spend, spend. Much like my friend Kelly over at My Overthinking (you can read about her blog post on the 3 gifts here) we want our children to know they have two parents who love them very much and who sacrifice a lot for them, including gifts for Christmas. The gifts aren’t from Santa. They are from us. While technically this year we have purchased more than 3 gifts, the point for us is that they do not get from us a mess of gifts under the tree. Gifts are fun and awesome and exciting. But the stuff is just that. It’s stuff. And we want them to enjoy it and be excited but also not covet more and more.
  3. We do music. We sing. We play the piano and guitar and stream music that leads our hearts to Jesus.
    piano photo
  4. We talk about giving and how much better that is than getting. We make gifts for our friends and talk about how it doesn’t matter if they don’t return the gesture. Giving is better. It’s always better. Always choose to give, is what we tell them. Best of all, give God’s love away in bucket fulls.
  5. We do decorations that mean something. Not all of them, but we try to sprinkle in bits and pieces that warm our hearts. That encourage us. That cause our gaze to look heavenward. That are from this awesome world in which we get to live! We still do stockings even though we chose not to incorporate Santa into our Christmas world. It’s fun for the kids to get surprises in there Christmas morning. Little trinkets. We also have a whole snow scene with lit ceramic houses. We let the kids play with the figures as long as they are careful. They LOVE it. And I love that they can have fun with that – especially when it’s snowy and too cold to be outside for long periods of time!
    christmas 14 decor3

christmas 14 decor2

christmas decor village 2

christmas decor village


Another thing we do is this awesome kid advent craft called Truth In The Tinsel but I’m doing a separate post about that. Eeek….can’t wait!

I intentionally filled this with things we do rather than things we don’t do. But if you are wondering…here it is…the moment of truth. From the beginning we have communicated to our kids that Christmas is about the gift of Jesus to us. It’s not about Santa. We tell them about Saint Nick and talk about who he was a little. We talk about how there are families who talk about Santa and him giving some gifts to their families. We tell them the adults are pretending with the kids and that they are in no way, shape or form to discuss that with their friends. We tell them that Santa is not real. Likewise, we do not participate in the Elf on the Shelf. We know many families who do and it’s cool and they do it really well. So there we have it.

That is a little piece of our lives during the Christmas season. Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed getting to know us a little.



3 Comments on “How We Approach Christmas {Attempts at Intentionalism}

  1. I love how you approach Christmas. I also think it is important to always tell the truth. Surprises are welcomed but lies are not. We also tell our children the truth about Santa. I agree with you that this is the time to read the bible and learn what Christmas is really about and no other Christmas story is magical or precious as the birth of Jesus. Sometimes we are out of town around Christmas and those years we choose not to give each other presents. The best present we can give each other is spending time with those we love. As a child we moved often. When I was in fourth grade we moved around Christmas. Most of our things were not unpacked and we just had our mattresses on the ground but that was my favorite Christmas even though we did not get presents. What I loved about that Christmas was that my dear mother woke us up to the sound of her singing in Russian “Silent Night.” Thank you for sharing this wonderful post.:)


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